What is China’s impact on forests and communities, given that it is the world’s biggest paper consumer and the fastest-growing investor in the pulp and paper industry? Activists from Indonesia and from the Chinese Environmental Paper Network are working together to increase understanding of this question. To assist this learning process, we are organising an exchange between environmental activists from China and Indonesia, together with European and North American campaigners.

During September and October 2014, Chinese activists will travel to Indonesia, and Indonesians will travel to China. The Indonesian visit will involve meetings in Jakarta and travel into forest lands in Sumatra, to observe the impacts on the ground of pulp and paper production, and to meet representatives of affected communities. The participants will learn about the impact of the policies and practices of the pulp and paper industry, governments and finance in Indonesia, and consider the role that China is and should be playing.

The return visit will involve a public event on 15 October exploring China’s role in the global publishing paper trail, looking at how printers and publishers can make sustainable paper choices, to supply books to Chinese and international markets with the miminum environmental and social harm. This visit will also include learning about the methods of paper production that have been carried out sustainably for thousands of years since paper was invented there, and it will be a chance for international campaigners to learn about Chinese culture and the potential and challenges for environmental advocacy.

Following the launch of our Global Paper Vision earlier this summer, this project demonstrates that the Environmental Paper Network is a truly global coalition, working together to find international solutions to the environmental and social problems caused by the pulp and paper industry in Indonesia and other producer countries.